Mascarpone and blackberry cake

mascarpone and blackberry cake

Amidst my Australian book launch frenzy and the heat wave of late summer crashing its way through the beginning of autumn, there have been berries. First blueberries, which are quickly heading out of season, then raspberries, which my daughter will gobble before anyone else even has a chance to look at them. And finally blackberries, which she won’t touch, so I get to have them.

I even attempted to go foraging for my own blackberries, an idea suggested by my new friend Lean, who knows all the good spots. But I admit I wasn’t totally prepared for the problems that accompany blackberry picking, which include getting stuck in brambles and prickled all over when trying to untangle yourself, worrying about losing balance while reaching too far and falling into the lake, or, of course, someone else beating you to the blackberry bush. So it wasn’t the most successful outing but I didn’t let that get me down. I went and bought blackberries from the farmers market instead.

Blackberry picking by the lake

I have quite a thing with blackberries and mascarpone. Something about the tartness of the berries and the sweetness of the creamy mascarpone, and the black on white  — they just complement each other so well.

Although often spoken of as a soft cream cheese, mascarpone is technically not a cheese at all but a dairy product made from cream coagulated with citric acid (for the home cook, lemon juice). A centuries old tradition from Lombardy in Italy’s north, mascarpone was once just a seasonal product, appearing only in winter when nature provided the refrigeration needed to keep this very fresh product at its best.

You can use store bought mascarpone for this cake, but why would you when it is so incredibly satisfying, simple and so much fun to make your own? When you’ve tasted freshly made mascarpone, it’ll be hard to go back to anything you can find in the supermarket — as fresh as can be and it also costs a fraction of the price of store-bought mascarpone.

Once you have a bowl of fresh mascarpone, you’ll find you might want to use it in anything and everything. It’s not just for tiramisu. Scoop it onto your favourite fruit (it’s lovely on poached fruit in particular, or maybe, even, these baked peaches). Stir it through pasta or risotto for extra creaminess. Add it to pizza instead of cheese. And as you’ll see below, it adds an incredibly moist texture to cakes.

mascarpone and blackberry cakeMascaropone and blackberry cake

This is a quick and incredibly moist cake, perfect for a sweet afternoon snack. It’s very similar to a yoghurt cake, except with mild and creamy homemade mascarpone taking the place of tangier yoghurt for that moist crumb. Because mascarpone is so rich and creamy, I’ve left the butter out and used olive oil instead. It’s a lovely way to use fresh berries that are either too tart or too ripe and looks very pretty when, in the fashion of marble cakes, you swirl the blackberry compote through the batter.

Mascarpone and blackberry cake

The recipe below is very loosely inspired by this French yoghurt cake from Bon Appetit.

  • 1 punnet of fresh blackberries
  • 180 grams of plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • good pinch of salt
  • 100 grams sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 180 grams mascarpone (homemade is really so good)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 grams (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil

Place half of the blackberries in a small saucepan with the 2 extra tablespoons of sugar and warm until the berries soften and the sugar dissolves in the juice produced. Squash the berries with the back of a spoon as you stir every now and then and cook about 5 minutes. Set the compote aside to cool.

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate large bowl, beat the mascapone, eggs and olive oil together until smooth and pale. Add the lemon zest and mix until well distributed. Fold the dry ingredients through the mascarpone mixture until just combined.

Pour the batter into a cake tin lined with baking paper. Top with the fresh blackberries and compote, then swirl the berries through the cake batter by running a butter knife in a zig-zag pattern up and down the tin. Smooth out the top without mixing too much.

Bake in oven at 180ºC for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.


  1. Rosa says:

    This cake must be really delicious! I love that blackberry compote swirl.



  2. This is so, so gorgeous – and exactly what I wanna make this summer. Thank you!

    • Emiko Davies says:

      Your welcome! And it’s adaptable too, obviously, you could use different berries and you could use yogurt or butter instead of the mascarpone if you didn’t have it ready.

  3. I bought a bunch of blueberries, but blackberries are what I really can’t wait for. This cake is on my list to make as soon as we have some good blackberries at the market. Hopefully soon!

  4. Maura says:

    I dare say that every time I read one of your recipes I think: this Is to memorize, this is a forever recipe,I mean a resistent recipe as a fit night concert mise! You have a cultivated and sele yes style.I’m just in the way to but mascarpone!!! Thanks a lot

  5. Michelle says:

    What size loaf pan should one use?

  6. Ruchi says:

    Made this on Sunday afternoon. It is just perfect.

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